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My layout switching experience

  • Started by engiwengi
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  • From: Oslo, Norway
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Wow, that's awesome! I think you may be indeed! Grats with that!

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Haha, thankyou! I was being a little cheeky there though :) I think my real speed would only really be about 100-110. 10 fast fingers is a very simple test without any punctuation or similar, but it is very nice for benchmarking. On the advanced test I don't do nearly as well.

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One pretty impressive thing about Sean Wrona is that he claims to be hardly bothered by punctuation and special symbols. Indeed, in the Ultimate Typing Championship he won the hard match with lots of tough typing with 124 over 79 WPM against his opponent. That's even more impressive than typing easy text at 160 WPM in my book. :-)

Last edited by DreymaR (12-Sep-2017 16:34:39)

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Unfortunately haven't had the opportunity to actually practice or record my wpm the last month or two. Though, just did a quick test tonight and managed a new record for myself!

7T1glWr.png

I'm planning to make the change to a columnar staggered keyboard at some point in the coming months, so my WPM will likely take a hit. Not sure if I will switch M and K in Colemak-DH, will have to see how I feel. What do you guys think?

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how many months did it take you to get to that level?

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I downloaded Colemak-DH for the first time on May 14th 2017. My original post has a history of all of my records at the bottom as I got them with a date. It took me a little over a month to get to 100wpm. Once I got to above 90 wpm or so I stopped practicing daily and just used my keyboard like a normal person :P

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Ooh, that's a pretty board! And a pretty speed too. ;-)

It should be very very interesting if you could try both versions of the Curl(DH) mod! As a fast typist with a nicely shaped matrix board (I don't trust the purely orthogonal ones!) you'd be ideally suited to do this experiment and bring us useful insights.

Of course, I'll be hoping that you find the new standard mod good (enough) on that board too. That'd be awesome. :-)

Last edited by DreymaR (13-Nov-2017 09:37:18)

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engiwengi said:

I'm planning to make the change to a columnar staggered keyboard at some point in the coming months, so my WPM will likely take a hit. Not sure if I will switch M and K in Colemak-DH, will have to see how I feel. What do you guys think?

I thought about trying Iris as well, but so far I'm using Ergodox. (That is a good thing about custom keyboards, they all have a name :) )
I'm using the latest variant of Colemak Mod-DH on Ergodox. Did not think about swapping M and K yet, IMO the stretch to the "qwerty N" will be noticeable anyway. I'm not as fast typist as you are, it would be interesting to hear your opinion.
BTW, what is good about Ergodox, the "qwerty B" and "qwerty N" can be reached by the thumb. I do not use that for now to do not create habits which can be used on Ergodox only.
Also, on reddit I heard opinion of one guy who tried Colemak, Workman, Colemak DH, and then came back to Colemak, that both at Workman and Colemak DH he "started feeling the upper limit of speed" and "couldn't really break past 50 wpm comfortably". I do not agree to him, what do you think about that?

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Yeah the Iris is definitely a great looking board, and in my opinion the thumb keys placed a little more logically than the Ergodox.

I've seen your neat little trick with pressing those keys with your thumb but don't think I could do it personally. I find my thumbs are less coordinated than my fingers, don't think I would be able to type as quickly nor accurately. I have a feeling that the M and K positions won't be something I will notice though, perhaps I would notice it when first learning but once up to a decent speed it's hard to notice as much since it's all being done completely automatically.

Obviously I can't say I agree with feeling limited by Colemak-DH in any way, since I'm already typing much faster than that, and faster than I was ever able to on QWERTY too. I can't see how the small changes that Colemak-DH makes from Colemak would effect typing speed almost at all, as the changes are almost purely ergonomic. Moving your finger to QWERTY H doesn't feel like it takes any longer than moving to QWERTY N, especially at the speeds a fast typist is moving at. The movement is just more straining for H than N, as it is an unnatural movement, thus the changes the DH mod makes. I think if you are more of a "floaty" typer where your entire hand moves around the keyboard, I can see how QWERTY H is more comfortable (and makes rolls easier) than QWERTY N, but I don't type like that.

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ckofy said:

Also, on reddit I heard opinion of one guy who tried Colemak, Workman, Colemak DH, and then came back to Colemak, that both at Workman and Colemak DH he "started feeling the upper limit of speed" and "couldn't really break past 50 wpm comfortably". I do not agree to him, what do you think about that?

Hmmm, interesting. Strangely though, he was bugged by the default Colemak centre column issue - which Mod-DH fixes - but then says "I appreciate the rhythm of typing across the home row [on Colemak] more than what Mod-DH had". Obviously the home rows are identical except for fixing the centre column! So I don't really understand his point.

I suspect the problem is he has arbitrarily switched layouts too frequently, without giving them a fair shot. Getting your speed up takes time, and I get the sense he was a bit impatient.

I don't think it's possible for there to be any significant speed difference between DH and standard Colemak, as they are so similar. The only real difference is one of comfort thanks to the improved D/H, the angle mod, and avoidance of the awkward HE.

Last edited by stevep99 (14-Nov-2017 12:54:12)

Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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People tend to judge too early after a switch. Initial impressions aren't that useful in the long run after all...

I had no problem whatsoever with regaining my full Colemak (vanilla) speed using Colemak CurlAngleWide.

Last edited by DreymaR (14-Nov-2017 16:53:06)

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Yeah, I also thought about the "floaty" typing style, then IMO rolling across the home row (including middle columns) might be appreciated. This is the first time though when I see that somebody who used  Colemak and gave Colemak DH a try then came back to Colemak.

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engiwengi said:

I downloaded Colemak-DH for the first time on May 14th 2017. My original post has a history of all of my records at the bottom as I got them with a date. It took me a little over a month to get to 100wpm. Once I got to above 90 wpm or so I stopped practicing daily and just used my keyboard like a normal person :P

wow 100wpm in one month. :O
I am 4 months in and I am still lingering at 70 with my accuracy still not as consistent as I would like it to be.

Last edited by abhixec (14-Nov-2017 20:06:11)
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engiwengi said:

Yeah the Iris is definitely a great looking board, and in my opinion the thumb keys placed a little more logically than the Ergodox.

Having the huge thumb cluster in ErgoDox does not mean you obligated to use it. ;) I'm effectively using just the closest big button and occasionally the second big button, the rest of thumb cluster has keys assigned, but they are not used in touch-typing. I actually have the core layout of Ergodox repeating my layout of Let's Split (which have 48 keys only), the rest of keys are treated as enhancement (including the number row). Same as the full keyboard, having 104 keys does not mean you use them all on daily basis, but they may be convenient sometimes. Also, ErgoDox is a kind of mainstream of columnar keyboards.

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abhixec said:

wow 100wpm in one month. :O
I am 4 months in and I am still lingering at 70 with my accuracy still not as consistent as I would like it to be.

Yeah, well, I'm ten years in and I am still lingering at 70 WPM unless I'm having a good day. ;-) My goal is to type 80 WPM consistently, but people are just different.

I firmly believe that there's such a thing as generic typing proficiency! If you're a 100+WPM QWERTY typist, you'll be a 100+WPM Colemak-DH typist in "no time" and you'd probably do well enough even on such monstrosities as Norman. Heh.

Until a year ago I was lingering around 60–65 WPM so I haven't given up the hope of achieving my goal! I've tweaked my layout every now and then, the last tweak being the recent update of the Curl(DH) mod, so there's that too...

Last edited by DreymaR (15-Nov-2017 11:35:08)

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ckofy said:

I actually have the core layout of Ergodox repeating my layout of Let's Split (which have 48 keys only), the rest of keys are treated as enhancement (including the number row).

That's interesting, what types of keys have you got on these extra keys? I can think of a few things that just being able to tap on demand (no layer) is definitely nice. For example print screen and F5 are two that I find myself wanting a dedicated key for. Tends to be infrequent keys that I mostly use when my hands aren't already on the home row. I was thinking of getting a dedicated macropad that I could have to the left of my keyboard for these types of keys. Possibly other things like opening applications too.

DreymaR said:

I firmly believe that there's such a thing as generic typing proficiency!

It definitely seems that way, almost like you might say some people just have great athletic potential, some people have great typing speed potential!

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engiwengi said:
ckofy said:

I actually have the core layout of Ergodox repeating my layout of Let's Split (which have 48 keys only), the rest of keys are treated as enhancement (including the number row).

That's interesting, what types of keys have you got on these extra keys? I can think of a few things that just being able to tap on demand (no layer) is definitely nice. For example print screen and F5 are two that I find myself wanting a dedicated key for. Tends to be infrequent keys that I mostly use when my hands aren't already on the home row. I was thinking of getting a dedicated macropad that I could have to the left of my keyboard for these types of keys. Possibly other things like opening applications too.

DreymaR said:

I firmly believe that there's such a thing as generic typing proficiency!

It definitely seems that way, almost like you might say some people just have great athletic potential, some people have great typing speed potential!

So, on the inner left hand column in the base layer I have Caps Lock (dah!), Underscore, and duplicated multitap key for Symbols layer (the main key for this layer is at the right thumb, equivalent to Raise in Planck). on the right side inner column there are Equal, Dash, and similar multitap key for Navigation layer (the main is at the left hand Lower button). I found she 1U thumb cluster keys as hardest to access, I have my main layer PgUp, PgDn, Home, End there as well as Del, GUI, and another copies of Ctrls. I rarely use them (except the Del in Ctrl-Alt-Del combination), so I'm thinking about reassigning them, F5 looks like a good candidate. Strangely, 76 keys of Ergodox is too many for me, I can not find good usage for all of them, no such problem at Let's Split, all 48 keys are used.

I absolutely agree regarding the generic typing proficiency, some people just have it genetically and some not. It is trainable, but the same as in sport, just been hard worker is not enough for winning in Olympic Games.

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Did a few attempts today and managed a new high score for myself, 127 WPM! Making me really want to reach 130 WPM at some point now.

My split columnar-staggered keyboard is also arriving in a day or two so that will be built soon and I will hopefully switch to that full time quickly. Super excited for that and will be sharing my feelings of Colemak-DH in that layout rather than ordinary staggered soon!

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There were some delays on that split columnar-staggered keyboard, but I finally got it and put some of it together and I immediately noticed quite a major flaw, the inner columns are staggered from the index finger column too far, resulting in the M and V keys being even more difficult to hit than say ortholinear keyboards. Personally I feel these inner columns shouldn't be staggered at all from the index finger column. The stagger can be seen easily in this image: https://imgur.com/PKtvtje

Otherwise, the stagger is very pleasant. Aggressive enough for it to be noticeable but not too aggressive that it makes with the outer fingers difficult. I am already certain that I will need to move M. I'm considering breaking up the ZXCV block as I don't particularly care about it due to programming. It is a difficult enough movement that my other fingers must stretch out to compensate my index finger's movement. However interestingly, due to this inconvenient stagger on the inner columns, it causes J and B to be markedly easier to hit.

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Interesting, that stagger looks only very small, it's surprising that it's noticeable.
The four keys on the four difficult corners are B J V M, which are all fairly rare except M. So you could to the M-K switch as per original Mod-DH. Or, since you say the top-corner keys are easier, another option might be to switch M-J?
I would have expected Z X C (and D) to be perfectly good with this board though.

Last edited by stevep99 (01-Jan-2018 17:57:40)

Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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Oddly, I find the reach much more difficult on my right hand than left. It doesn't look too bad on paper but for whatever reason my right index just hates that movement. I might take a photo/video. It angers my index right at the major knuckle, and the tendon sort of "jumps" over the knuckle sometimes, not a particularly pleasant feeling when typing.

ZXCD are all fine (improved in my opinion, the stagger always made those keys problem areas), just considering breaking it up if I find superior alternatives. D and H feel just as good as in a normal keyboard, if not debatably better. I played around with swapping J>M>K, which actually felt quite good on this particular keyboard. V, G and B feel fine, mostly due to V not being too bad on my left hand.

Last edited by engiwengi (01-Jan-2018 18:38:20)
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Columnar staggering of Iris is repeating the one for ErgoDox and this is a kind of standard now.
I personally find the inner column shift ok. Index finger is moving by arch there, while in ortho layout it is required to swing and stretch it a little from homing position.
What is different for Iris compare to ErgoDox is the middle thumb key position. In ErgoDox it is right below the index column and many users do not press it with thumb, while that position is too good to use it for anything but thumb key. Then, ErgoDox has a little gap between keys which allow to reach V and M with thumb. I’ve tried to do that and rotated V and M cups upside down to press them easier with thumb, but now I’m not using that to do not create ErgoDox only habits.
Regarding the M and K position, I’ve used M in the home row for some time, what was bugged me is MN and MEN, I find it more convenient when M is in the bottom row. K in the middle is not as good for KN, but it is more convenient for CK, which is IMO is very frequent. I’ve noticed great improvement for ING and CK after moving from Colemak to Colemak DH, and both ending letters G and K took the middle row position.
M is kind of can not find its optimal spot on the keyboard. But just think about that columnar staggering is used for qwerty where there is N in that position, and users still report great ergonomic improvement compare to row staggering.
Also, I’m using split keyboards separated for about palm width and quite aggressively tented for about 20°. I was not immediately got used to it, but now I find it very convenient.

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BTW, this is the interesting idea to include J in rotation. This position is so obviously bad at the regular keyboard that only J deserves to be there, but columnar staggering is different story.

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I see that on this particular keyboard the top-corner key is actually a lot more accessible than on other keyboards – even standard matrix ones. On those, I would think that the position is still bad. In fact, using the Curl(DH) mod shifts finger focus downwards so these positions become worse than in vanilla Colemak! It's a small concession to make I believe, since they're occupied by the rareish B and the rare J.

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